New litter strategy announced – using behaviour change to nudge the public

A new litter strategy was announced on Monday by the Government, to take control of the rising litter and waste problems across the country. Councils are now instructed to charge litter droppers and fly-tippers up to £150 for throwing rubbish on the floor.

litter strategy

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the new plan would help to build an anti-litter culture in England and reduce the harmful impacts of littering on the countryside, wildlife, seas and towns.

A national behaviour change campaign

The litter strategy has been described as a ‘national behaviour change campaign’ by edie. It plans to encourage the use of behaviour insights to develop and test new ways to reduce littering, such as nudge techniques and innovative new infrastructure.

litter strategy

Behaviour change and nudge campaigns have had impressive results over the last few years, as they encourage people to make better decisions through positive reinforcement.

The new litter strategy also focuses on pushing what they know already works – what’s the point of re-inventing the wheel when it’s already been trialled somewhere else? With this plan, councils across the UK can choose the most cost effective combination of approaches that have been tried and tested.

This is similar to the methodology used by charity Hubbub with their behaviour change campaigns. If their creative initiatives, such as Love Your Forest and Fuelling Connections are successful then they package the results into a toolkit for other councils to adopt.

litter strategy

What happened to coffee cup waste? 

Coffee cup waste has been high on the news agenda over the last couple of months, with many campaigns taking centre stage such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Wake Up and Smell the Waste campaign and MPs proposing a 5p levy to reduce cup use. However, it has not been mentioned in the Government’s new litter strategy – we hope this is not a missed opportunity.

To read about the litter and behaviour change campaigns that Greenhouse has previously worked on head over to our case studies page, or read our blog. If you are an organisation who is working to reduce litter on our streets and in the countryside, then please get in touch as we would love to hear from you.

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